Lists: I’m A Wild One: Five Somewhat Obscure Biker Flicks

Here is a list of five somewhat obscure cult biker flicks that you should watch at least once. Most hardcore cult film fans have probably seen these already. Have you seen them all?

Hell’s Angels ‘69 1969

“This was the RUMBLE that ROCKED Las Vegas! For a wild, wicked weekend and the deadliest gamble ever dared!” (1). A pair of brother’s plans an Ocean’s 11 type heist of $600,000 from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas disguised as bikers and using the Hell’s Angels as a cover for the robbery. They get in good with a chapter of the Hell’s Angels and convince them to take a trip to Vegas, not knowing of the brother’s robbery scheme. Can they escape the Angels before they discover their plan?

It is mostly notable because it featured actual members of the Oakland chapter of the Hell’s Angels. The president of the chapter, Ralph “Sonny” Barger, was able to broker a deal for the group to star in a movie due to the success of Hunter S. Thompson’s book on the Angels (2). Thompson published a book in 1966 that took an up close look at the Hell’s Angels entitled Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. The book was successful and propelled Thompson into the national audience. It also resulted in a large number of exploitative biker pictures being released during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Barger also negotiated a deal for the Angels to act as security guards at a Rolling Stones concert outside of San Francisco where a fan was notoriously stabbed to death by an Angel member (2).

The motion picture is somewhat slow but is still worth watching, getting a glimpse into the world of a real biker gang and the culture of riding, partying, womanizing, and the fighting that goes on.

Pink Angels 1972

“Catch the Pink Angels ... if you can!” (3). The ultimate genre bending outlaw biker film, as we watch a group of transvestite bikers make their way to Los Angeles for a ladies drag cotillion ball. Along the way, they get into all kinds of mischief.

This is one that could be considered weird, insulting, hilarious, and possibly factual all at the same time. The producer said they were attempting to make a motion picture in the cinema verite style, a documentary style film. And it does play off that way at times, trying to show how the characters would act in various situations. But it is rather hilarious and there are tons of funny moments and dialogue in this.

Despite being light on plot it is amusing and the filmmaking is done rather well for a low budget picture, there are many good shots of them riding their bikes and various close ups. The ending is somewhat surprising and shocking compared to the rest of the movie, ending on a note similar to Easy Rider. In some ways it is the weird transvestite version of Easy Rider.

Psychomania AKA The Death Wheelers 1973

“Seven Suicides - and they roared back as The Living Dead” (4). A motorcycle gang called the living dead all commit suicide, so that they can return back as one of the living dead. The film is a rather hilarious combination of motorcycles, witchcraft, and a splash of 1970’s hippieness.

The plot, script, and acting are nothing to write home about. The things that are memorable are the motorcycle scenes, the biker’s look, and the music. There are a decent amount of scenes involving the bikes, including a decent chase sequence. The bikers have a cool look, with the helmet and white visor that makes it look like a skull and crossbones. The soundtrack by John Cameron is pretty excellent, especially the opening title sequence with the gang riding around a Stonehenge type place. There is also an amusing burial scene of the gang leader placed in unusual positioning, while a hippie performs a song. The soundtrack was actually released on CD in 2003 by Trunk records.

If you like biker movies, or drive-in movies, then you should check this one out

Stone 1974

“Before Mad Max There Was STONE” (5). This is a low budget Australian biker movie about a detective that goes undercover in a biker gang in order to find who has been killing off members of the gang.

The film is known for its use of Kawasaki Z900’s as the bikes, fantastic location shots, a large funeral procession, and some very crazy bike stunts. It has one particularly insane bike stunt that makes you question how the stuntman managed to survive. This features four actors who would go on to appear in the more widely known Mad Max, which were Vincent Gil, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, and Reg Evans. It also featured almost 400 real bikers used as extras in the highway funeral procession scene.

The Loveless 1981

“Sworn to Fun...Loyal to None!!!” (6). A motorcycle gang gets into trouble in a small town when it stops to fix a broken down bike, while on their way to races that are taking place in Daytona. This was the first writing and directing credit for Kathryn Bigelow, who went on to win two Oscars for the Hurt Locker and a nomination for Zero Dark Thirty. It was also the first major screen credit and role for Willem Dafoe, who stands out as the rebel biker. It was obvious watching this that he would go on to become a star and an epic villain in other movies.

The film oozes style and cool, between the 1950’s era costumes and vehicles to the excellent rockabilly score from co-star Robert Gordon. The motion picture and “script is a study in Americana that evokes influences as varied as Walker Evans, Kenneth Anger, Edward Hopper, and Douglas Sirk. As part of their rigorous preproduction research, the filmmakers utilized the resources of MoMA’s Film Study Center (our own Charles Silver is mentioned in the film’s credits). In that way, the Museum’s relationship with the film began well before it eventually entered our collection” (7). The production shoot took 25 days during the end of September, 1980, in a small town in Georgia just off of Route 17 (7)

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Works Cited

1. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 5 2, 2016. [Cited: 5 2, 2016.]
2. Thompson, Tony. Outlaws: One Man's Rise Through the Savage World of Renegade Bikers. London : Penguin Group, 2011.
3. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 3 10, 2016. [Cited: 3 10, 2016.]
4. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 2 29, 2016. [Cited: 2 29, 2016.]
5. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 5 2, 2016. [Cited: 5 2, 2016.]
6. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 5 9, 2016. [Cited: 5 9, 2016.]
7. MOMA. [Online] MOMA, 5 9, 2016. [Cited: 5 9, 2016.]